(NEW YORK) — The JFK Library released three newly digitized images on Wednesday of John F. Kennedy Jr. sitting in the pilot’s seat of the presidential helicopter as a toddler during his father’s presidency.
The photos, according to the JFK Library, were taken during a weekend trip at the presidential country retreat at Camp David in Frederick County, Md., on March 31, 1963.
Dressed in a bright red jacket, the 2-year-old pint-sized Kennedy grins as he pretends to pilot the helicopter, and mugs to the camera.
The photos were shot by Robert Knudsen, the White House photographer from 1946 until 1974. Knudsen shot for the White House through five presidential administrations: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
Though these images were previously available on film, the library has now digitized them and posted them to their website and to a Tumblr page.
The photos, though cute, perhaps foreshadow the young Kennedy’s death. As an adult, Kennedy went on to become a lawyer and magazine publisher, as well as a recreational pilot. He died when a small plane carrying him; his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy; and her older sister, Lauren Bessette, went down over the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard on July 16, 1999.
The crash was determined to have been caused by “the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Kennedy was 39 when he died.
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Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM
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